Photos; Yossi Jerufi, Rosie Rimler
The atmosphere was electric as nearly 1,000 people packed in to watch the JewQ International Championship this past Sunday in Stamford, Connecticut. In a day filled with challenging games and crossfire questions, 300 regional finalists from 26 countries competed on stage for the title of JewQ International Champion.
The competition was divided into five segments, with questions becoming progressively more complex in each grade level. Participants from Australia, France, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, the UK, Portugal, and India competed in this year’s program. Being on stage represented a realization of longtime goals and dreams for the finalists, as they had worked hard all year to earn their spots in the championship.
Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice-Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch, acknowledged the children’s accomplishments and encouraged them to continue in their positive efforts.
“This is just the beginning. You now have the responsibility to take this knowledge and bring it to your home, school, community, and beyond,” said Rabbi Kotlarsky, “you have the power to make a difference in the world. Through your actions, you can demonstrate what it truly means to be a JewQ champion.”
The event featured a concert by superstar Benny Friedman and special challenging questions posed to the contestants by famous guests, including Israel’s chief Rabbi David Lau, Meni Hollander, an illusionist from Israel’s Got Talent, an Israeli soldier, and Ultimate JewQ champion, Leah Klien. The event was an inspirational showcase of Jewish knowledge mastery and a celebration of the enduring strength of Hebrew school education.
After many nail-baiting and buzzer-beater questions, medals were awarded to all of the finalists. The top contestants were crowned as the 2023 JewQ International Champions and received trophies for their excellent performance.
The Ultimate Champions were:
Oliver Rokhsar, 3rd grader from Warner Avenue Elementary and Chabad Youth LA in Los Angeles, CA.
Judah Averbuch, 4th grader from Science And Arts Academy and Evanston Chabad Hebrew School in Evanston, IL.
Jacob Elkin, 5th grader in Clark Elementary and Chabad Jewish Centre at Wiregrass, Wesley Chapel, FL.
Joanna Diament, 6th grader, Mirman School and Chabad of Northridge in Northridge, CA
7th grader Michaela Shapo of Cabin John Middle School and Chabad of Potomac in Potomac, MD.
“I’m at a loss for words; it’s just a great feeling,” said Oliver Rokhsar, the Ultimate JewQ Champion of the third-grade division, “All the studying was worth it. JewQ has made a huge difference in my life. Even more than winning the trophy was the knowledge I learned. I am going to be going for it again next year again,” he added.
The JewQ program, designed to bring competitive learning into Hebrew school education and motivate children and their families to connect to their Jewish identity in a fun way, teaches children about Jewish heritage and empowers them to take ownership of their Jewish identity and bring it home to their families. The program continues to grow and expand, reaching more children around the world and instilling in them a love for Jewish learning and heritage.
The captivating event was produced by Dovid Weinbaum of DW productions.
JewQ is a program of CKids, The Chabad Children’s Network.
To learn more about JewQ or to contribute towards this unique program, visit ckids.org/jewq
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